Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 4, § 341.2: Presence of respondent and his or her parent

When a minor who is between the ages of 7 and 16 is accused of committing a criminal act, the matter is generally handled in Family Court. Instead of being accused of committing a crime, the minor is accused of being a "juvenile delinquent" because he or she committed a "delinquent act". There are special procedures that must be followed during proceedings related to juvenile delinquency cases. One important rule is that during the hearings the accused minor, the minor's counsel and the minor's parent must be present. Under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 341.2, the minor's counsel or legal guardian as well as parents are to be present at the hearings related to the case. However, the absence of a parent will not delay proceedings as long as a reasonable effort was made to alert the parent of the hearing and as long as the minor and his or her counsel are present.

In addition, under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 341.1, unlike criminal trials the general public may be excluded from juvenile delinquency hearings. This means that those who do not have a direct interest in the case may be prevented from attending juvenile delinquency hearings.

Example

Brenda M. was accused of an act that if committed by an adult would be assault in the second degree. Brenda was held in secured detention while her case was being resolved. Both her mother and her father were easily located and notified of the date of the fact-finding hearing. Brenda's parents found representation to appear on Brenda's behalf at the hearing. However, neither of Brenda's parents appeared at the hearing. In addition, Brenda's counsel also did not appear at the hearing. Under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 341.2 Brenda's fact-finding hearing would have to adjourned because Brenda's counsel was not present.

Under the same facts as above, if Brenda's parents were notified but failed to attend the fact-finding hearing, and her counsel did attend the hearing, then the hearing would not have to be adjourned.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Fact-finding hearing; order of procedure: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 342.1
  2. Evidence in fact-finding hearings; required quantum: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 342.2
  3. Fact-finding hearing; removal: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, § 346.1
Remedy

If neither the juvenile's counsel or parents show up for a juvenile delinquency hearing, then the judge must adjourn the case and set if for another date. A reasonable effort must be made to notify the parents of the new hearing date. If the juvenile's counsel or law guardian do appear at the next scheduled hearing but the parents do not, the hearing may proceed as long as the parents were notified or a reasonable effort was made to notify the parents.

Family Court Act, Article 4, Child Protective Services, Part 3, § 341.2: Presence of respondent and his or her parent
  1. The respondent and his counsel or law guardian shall be personally present at any hearing under this article and at the initial appearance.
  2. If a respondent conducts himself in so disorderly and disruptive a manner that the hearing cannot be carried on with him in the courtroom, the court may order a recess for the purpose of enabling his parent or other person responsible for his care and his law guardian or counsel to exercise full efforts to assist the respondent to conduct himself so as to permit the proceedings to resume in an orderly manner. If such efforts fail, the respondent may be removed from the courtroom if, after he is warned by the court that he will be removed, he continues such disorderly and disruptive conduct. Such time shall not extend beyond the minimum period necessary to restore order.
  3. The respondent's parent or other person responsible for his care shall be present at any hearing under this article and at the initial appearance. However, the court shall not be prevented from proceeding by the absence of such parent or person if reasonable and substantial effort has been made to notify such parent or other person and if the respondent and his law guardian or counsel are present.
New York Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

If your child has been accused of being a juvenile delinquent, it is important that he or she has experienced representation. Juvenile delinquency procedure is complicated and involves rules that are quite different from general criminal procedure. Furthermore, the outcome of your child's case could have a significant impact on his or her future. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing juvenile clients in New York Family Court as well as in criminal court who have been accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those involved in juvenile delinquency matters in the following locations:

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